As the Fountain Theatre celebrates 25 years producing outstanding feats of theatre in their unusual space in Hollywood, it comes to mind that the term ART must be brought into the discussion. How Simon Levy, Deborah Lawler and Stephen Sachs shoehorn productions into this tiny little theater they’ve managed to keep afloat for all these years is astounding. One of the least attractive spaces in town, the charm of the old neighborhood, even the sheer joy of the house manager as she directs the audience to their seats all combine to create a unique atmosphere. As I drove the theater I heard one of the creators of Pixar’s Toy Story talking the radio about what makes a story worthwhile. Among other things, he used the word “anticipation.” I realized that virtually every story we hear or go to see, such as the play I was headed for… carries with it some sort of anticipation. Sometimes the anticipation is dread! Sometimes we are excited. I always try to enter the theatre anticipating that I’ll have a great time. Having been pleased in the past with the efforts at The Fountain, I bumped up my positive anticipation
The Los Angeles Premiere of Lauren Gunderson’s “I AND YOU” features two talented young actors: Jennifer Finch as Caroline and Matthew Hancock as Anthony. Tom Buderwitz’s cluttered depiction of Caroline’s room reflects her interest in the past (Janis Joplin on the wall and Elvis’ crooning Hound Dog). Anthony arrives to the consternation of Jennifer with a badly made collage that is supposed to extol the wonderfulness of Walt Whitman and his epic poem, Leaves of Grass. The assignment has been brought to Jennifer because her medical condition has kept her on the sidelines for most of her life and she lives mostly in her room, texting her mother to communicate and wallowing in the issues of always having been ill. Her liver is failing, which may account for her rude confrontation with Anthony who just wants to complete a school assignment and has waited until the last minute to volunteer to partner with Jennifer who has not seen the teacher’s email introducing him.
It takes a bit of doing before Anthony charms his way into Jennifer’s confidence. The dialogue may be slightly overdone, but it’s one of those two handers where all we have to go on is the repartee, the ebb and flow of the two characters relating to each other. As the teens begin to enjoy the assignment and one another, it’s clear that Anthony has brought much more than the opportunity for Jennifer to begin to enjoy poetry and help him complete his assignment. Buderwitz’s skill and the revelation of Anthony’s gift work brilliantly. Support Intimate Theatre and The Fountain.
I and YOU
By Lauren Gunderson
Directed by Robin Larsen
The Fountain Theatre
5060 Fountain Avenue
Hollywood, CA 90029
Thurs, Fri and Saturdays at 8PM
Sundays at 2PM
Through June 14, 2015
Tickets and Information:
323 663 1525 / www.fountaintheatre.com